>>Friday, August 24, 2007<<
Do I ever think about Russia?

I think about Russia all the time. I have met so many people who have told me that they were so ready to get out of there. To hurry the process, to hurry, hurry, hurry.

Not me, I am ready to visit again. I remember the smells, the feel, the people like it was yesterday. I loved Russia. Many people from all parts of the world have their feelings towards Russia, whether it be bad or good. Most are afraid...they think that all Russians are with the KGB, or the big "bad boogie man", or that everyone is mean.

My eyes saw beauty, great food, a fresh way of looking at life, generous, kind people. I saw the hardships in the eyes of the old lady who was the attendant at the portable bathroom in the middle of the street. She was hunched over and barely able to walk. When I saw her, I knew that she had seen the rise and fall of communism, she lived through wars, she saw it all. She was beautiful to me. She smiled the best that she could. Smiling is not a Russians way of life. That does not mean that they don't smile on the inside. It is their culture. I came to respect that. They laugh, have fun, sing, tell stories..just like anyone else. They choose to do it behind the doors of their own home.

I was there when a group of terrorist murdered a kid for being from the wrong race. It happened literally minutes before my metro stop. Terror is something that is a part of many of their daily lives. I saw poverty. I saw tremendous wealth. I saw historic buildings and places that are forever etched in my memory. It is a country desperately trying to build back so much that was ruined.

I am proud to be an American and am incredibly blessed for being born here. But, I am grateful that I do live in a free society that allows me to visit countries and take pieces of it and put it in my heart. What an amazing world we live in. There is so much to see and so much to learn.

Russia is our son's homeland. I cannot try and erase that. I don't want to. I am sure his birth mother did what she felt was the best thing for her. I pray for her, and pray for her safety. However, I am thankful to her. Because had she not given birth to Sasha Romanov (now Nikolai)...we would not have our son. I truly believe that it was all a part of a divine plan. I believe it was Gods plan for him to be born in Moscow and for a wonderful woman to send out a random email about a little boy she knew of that had special needs to a family in the US (that would be us).

As crazy as it sounds....Nikolai called us to Russia. We heard the call and we came. I am thankful to Russia for giving him the best life that they could while he was there. Our promise was to take it from there and give him the best life possible, no matter where he physically lived. Russia is a part of his blood, therefore...it runs through our veins.

This isn't about politics and who did what to who's country and what President is mad at whom.

Russia was our son's womb and we were blessed to help bring him into this world. Does it matter where a child is from? So many have issues with where you adopt your child. What matters is that children are Gods children and we are put on this earth to nurture them during our stay on this planet. God didn't say that your child had to be from your own womb, or from your own state or even your own country. We were blessed that we had a little of all of the above.

We made forever friends in Russia. Our sons playmates from his children's home live in he US near us. How amazing is that?

This is about the gift that we were given to see a whole new way of living and a beautiful country that so many don't really know or understand. Thank you Mother Russia. Until we meet

Here is when Nikolai and I took our first walk together in Red Square. One year later, we took our first walk into Build-a -Bear.

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>>Tuesday, August 21, 2007<<
4 years ago today...

I was lying in the hospital, having been there for close to 3 weeks. I was very sick with high blood pressure, and a baby desperately needing to get out of my stomach. They warned me that her lungs weren't ready. The doctors had to give me a drug to help me not go into a seizure. I had pre-eclampsia.

4 years ago today, the doctors said that our baby had to come out or that we both could die.

She was born at 4:00 in the afternoon. She was so tiny and so beautiful. Her chest was puffing in and out so heavily. She was struggling to breathe. They let me kiss her for a millisecond and I never held her in my arms again for another week.

She was rushed to the NICU. I was stuck in bed with IV's hanging out of me. Later that night, the nurses and doctors took pity on me and let my husband wheel me down to the NICU. I was still hooked to all types of medicines. There was still a fear that I would have a seizure afterwards.

I wheeled myself right up to the window of the incubator that my tiny-iny baby was lying in. She had a chest tube, tubes in every place imaginable and her chest was so swollen from trying to breathe. Never in my life did I feel the way that I felt in that moment. I was terrified of losing this beautiful angel that God had blessed me with. I cried with every tear that I had in my body.

That night, the doctor came in to sit next to me. He held my hand ever so gently and told me that he was called in because our baby's lung had collapsed and they would have to transport her by ambulance to the next hospital that had a Higher Level Newborn Intensive Care Unit. He said not to worry, that they would take care of her.

They wheeled her down in my room before going into an ambulance. I touched the glass and told her that I loved her and not to give up. "Please don't give up"

We reunited several days later. I was taken off all IV's and able to go to the hospital that she was at. I rarely left her side. She was in a tiny incubator and had IV's coming out of her head, toes, nose. My husband and I clung to each other.

When we walked in, the nurses were full of smiles. They told us that they had no idea what had happened, but, our baby girl had taken a turn. A turn for the better. They said that she must have loved that ambulance ride, because she only needed a ventilator for a day (compared to the original 3 weeks) and that she was making a miraculous recovery. I finally held her through the incubator. It was like a robot machine. I touched her tiny fingers and prayed every prayer that I could pray.

A few days later....we were told that she would be released from the NICU and sent to another hospital for a few days of observation. I was able to hold her in my arms. She smelled so good. She smiled at me and I knew we were going to be ok.

Today is her 4th birthday. I have been grateful for every moment of those 4 years. She is a vivacious little girl who has a feisty spirit that she had to come into this world with. She lights up my world and I thank God every day for allowing her to hang on. I celebrate life with her. I am so grateful.

There is rarely a day that goes by that I don't realize how lucky I am to still be on this earth with 3 amazing children. Most importantly, that precious little baby who struggled so hard to breathe........., she never gave up.

Happy Birthday Princess!!!

>>Saturday, August 18, 2007<<
Guilt is such a destructive visitor in your life....
I feel like guilt consumes a lot of my life as a mother. Where should I begin?:

Guilt that if I am working, my children are suffering.

Guilt that if I am at home full time, that I am not everything they want me to be.

Guilt because my 7 year old said in the Disney store today with HUGE crocodile tears "I don't feel special", because her brother got a $1 sippy cup and we were buying presents for her sisters birthday. (it happens all the time. our children feel entitled to toys, presents, everything)

Guilt because I don't have the energy to do the one million and one things that they want me to do during the day...."what's next? the pool?, park?, art?, dance?...you catch my drift"

Guilt because I am not the mom who is dressed to the "9's" when I drop off my kids at the school. I am lucky I put my shirt on the right way.

Guilt because I didn't make homemade cookies for my child's class, guilt because I didn't make a home made craft, guilt because I am not in the "Right" Play group or ANY play group for that matter.

Guilt that I am not taking Little N to all of these social activities to help him with his social skills. HE HAS SOCIAL SKILLS!!

Guilt that I don't have the house smelling like pine sol with the kitchen gleaming and the dinner cooked when my husband arrives.

Guilt that I have gained 100 lbs in 4 years.

Guilt that my children never seem to get enough of me, but, yet I give them 100% and have negative for me or my husband.

Guilt that I never seem quite good enough at parenting. But, yet I try so hard. M is in the terrible 2's, 3's, and 4's. N has FULL BLOWN terrible 2's. S needs every second of my time. I try to be everything to them. But, many days are filled with them screaming, yelling, kicking at me. Nothing ever seems to be good enough. I am with poopy diapers and kiddie talk 24 hours a day.

I feel guilty that I miss my life. I miss my friends, I miss working at a job that I love. I miss doing anything that resembles me.

I knew that when I decided to be a mother, my life would change forever. I wanted it, I am happy for it. But, where I am confused is that is my life supposed to be taken over by my children and you are left as a shell. Or do they compliment your life and you can still have some sort of sense of who you are?

I am struggling a little bit. Is there anyone else out there that juggles all of this? Any advice would help.

Where does the guilt end? Does it? What makes you a good mom?

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>>Thursday, August 16, 2007<<
Ok this is funny..."Mom my Ride"
I saw this on You Tube....and Oh my goodness....anybody out there who is a "minivan" Mom might be able to appreciate this. I swear this must have been me and someone forgot to tell me they put my car on television!!!

The one thing that I said in my life was that I was NEVER going to drive a minivan nor live in suburbia. Now I do both. I have learned to cut the word "never" straight out of my mouth.

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>>Saturday, August 11, 2007<<
Life after adoption....
Since it has taken so long to get back to blogging and a year has flown by. It will be a while for me to catch up on everything that has gone on.

But, I do want to talk about the emotional roller coaster that you are on before and after adoption. I know so many of you are waiting to adopt and you are struggling with how long it has taken. Then there are others who are in the middle of the adoption, others that are on the other side like us.

I remember wanting so desperately to be in Moscow and to get my son and take him home. Then, when we did get him home, all I wanted is for everything to be normal right then. I never anticipated the tidal wave of emotions that would come along with it.

My best advice to anyone who is considering adoption, adding another child into their family is to take emotional inventory of yourself. Meaning, are you ready emotionally for all the changes?

That is so easy said, I know. Don't get me wrong, I would not change a thing. I just wasn't prepared for the emotional roller coaster that has taken place. I will continue to elaborate and update on post-adoption in my blogs.

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>>Friday, August 10, 2007<<
What has our little man been up to this year?

Lets put it this way, what has Nikolai NOT been up to? :) In the past year since he has been home.... he has now officially become our local "mayor". When he first arrived in the US last May, he was afraid of everyone. Everyone except us. He was terrified of my parents, terrified of having a babysitter.

NOW??? Those days are over. He waves to everyone and says "HI!" and waves and gives his now well practiced smile. Wherever he goes...he doesn't meet a stranger. I am so happy about the change. But, it scares me too. Because he will run up to anyone. For instance, we were at the park and went right up to this woman and motioned for her to pick him up and put him on the swing. He has no fear. Of course, I am running up freaking out that someone else is touching him. But, I realize that he just wanted to get on that swing and Mom was just not fast enough.

He is faster than the speed of lightning. I have never in my life seen a child that moves as fast as he does. He was about 16 lbs. when we adopted him, he is now weighing in at 23 lbs now. At 2 1/2 years old...he still wears a size 12 month pants. But, what he lacks in size...he makes up for in "pizazz!!" He has completely shocked us all by his ability to pick up on everything. Sometimes that is good, sometimes...not so good. He watches his Daddy with the electronic stuff. Nikolai thinks now that he knows how to rewire a computer. :) So much for that international doctor that sent us a note "expect mild retardation". Nope....not here.... he is a smart little boy.

He loves his sisters and vice-versa. Sometimes...a little too much. Because he is so small, they think he is a baby doll. They dress him up, put him in their doll baby stroller. My hubby is not so sure about all that. I am not worried...he is having fun and he is totally a guys "guy". Whenever boys are around...he wants to be a part of the action. Loves jumping, loves crashing his toy cars, loves to scare the ever living daylights out of me!!! But, he knows how to charm the ladies. He gives that smile that melts anyone.

We are going through the terrible two's right now... His constant words are "No, Why?, NO LIKE THAT!" Yikes. This temper tantrums are pretty tough. But, I think it is mainly that he is a very active, independent little boy. He does not want anyone to interfere with his independence.
When you do, he lets you know. He is a champion at time out. He knows exactly what to do and doesn't move an inch! :) If I could read his thoughts...they would say "Geez Mom, why do I have to sit on the steps? All I was doing is trying to move the cat out of the way"

yea....move the cat out of the way...can we say..kick the cat and then running over to him to say he was sorry. He picked up Mr. Kitty to give him a hug (rather a gut wrenching smother) to say he was sorry. No worries...no harm done to the Kitty. They are so used to our wild brood.

More updates to come!!!
Love to all!

>>Thursday, August 09, 2007<<
Where in the world have we been?

Well hello world!!! I realize that it has been coming up on a year since I have posted. Shame for shame for shame. I could list the many different reasons. But, it would bore you to tears.

Mainly...it has been because of LIFE. Having 3 children has definitely taken life to the next level. So, by the pictures...you can see the kids are as busy and happy as ever.

Little Nikolai has gone from bald to his first hair cut and he is definitely a tow head. 3 blonde little ones. They have more energy than I could ever imagine. I am going to start posting again and let you know how the past year has been since Nikolai has been home.

I have started another blog that is on WordPress right now. I like the templates, but, am having a hard time with the formatting and frankly there are not a lot of people (so it seems that blog over there). Come check it out... www.diaryofashrinkingmama.blogspot.com
I will have it on my blog roll too. I am on a journey to Weight Loss Surgery. It is about my struggles with weight, about going through the Duke University program. It is a lot different than the adoption log.

I am really trying to get back in the blogging world. I look forward to hearing you guys!!

I have missed you all!!


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